Tuesday, 30 June 2009

U2 360 Blast Off!

Well the big day has arrived, the start of the U2 360 Tour! I can imagine the excitement of the fans in Barcelona and the nerves the band must be feeling as well. The tour madness starts once more today.

I've had little peeks at some of the rehearsal setlists but also avoided others. I will try to avoid reviews of the shows as much as possible so that the show can be relatively new and unknown for me. Though I must say, with the internet it's very hard to avoid such things! My first 360 gig is in 15 days in Nice - I'm on a countdown!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Wear The Mask???

I honestly thought this was a joke when I first heard it. Download, print and WEAR a mask at a show and elsewhere for Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Burma! Now don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect and admiration for this lady and am saddened by what has happened in Burma. But what will wearing a paper mask do to change things? I'm sure it'll create a great impression in the pub..... Do you deface her image and cut out her eyes so you can see where you are going on your way to work or college? Scary. And they'd probably think you were going to rob the place if you wore it whilst shopping!

I don't know whose idea this was but it must be one of the silliest ideas the U2 camp has come up with. It's a shame as there are lots of other more appropriate ways to show that Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Burma have not been forgotten.

Below find the idiots guide to making a mask from U2.com

Print it off.

Cut it out.

Attach some elastic or string to the sides.

Try it on for size.(If you're really clever print it on card or laminate it)

Or tape on a little handle to hold it in front of your face.

Wear it to work or college. Wear it on the bus or the train.

Wear it in the pub or at the shops.

And don't forget.

Bring it to a U2 show.

Put it on with thousands of others when the band strike up the opening bars of Walk On.

Wear it to to show the world that you have not forgotten. 'Please use your liberty to promote ours,' says Aung San Suu Kyi. Use your liberty to promote hers. And the liberty of the people of Burma.


Glastonbury 2009

This weekend has been Glasto weekend in the UK. The much loved and biggest performing arts festival in the world (175000 attendance), an eclectic mix of artists and delightfully eccentric and unique. Glasto also signifies the start of the summer here, though often there is more rain than sunshine resulting in a mudbath, but that's all part of the experience. However, this year the festival was graced with mainly warm and sunny weather.

Unfortunately I've never been to Glastonbury in person, but I always make a point of watching it every year on TV right into the early hours. And what a great festival it was this year too! Amongst the newer bands The Doves and Fleet Foxes stood out for me, what wonderful harmonies the latter had - reminded me a little of The Beach Boys.

But two long time artists stood head and shoulders above the rest for or me, the first being Neil Young - his Heart Of Gold is one of my all-time fave songs. Looking every day of his 64 years, straggly hair flying wildly and an instantly recognisable voice, he totally wowed the audience. Rockin The Free World was amazing and he had the whole audience rocking along with him, brilliant stuff. There was a magic happening and it was wonderful to watch.

Saturday night's highlight for me was Bruce Springsteen who I've been a fan since before I got into U2. I've seen him play live five times over the years and I've never been disappointed, he is simply brilliant live. He did not disappoint at Glastonbury where he was on stage for two and a half hours - quite short for him, he usually does a three plus hour set . Not bad for a man of 58 (and unlike Neil Young Bruce does not look his age). His energy in amazing and the thing that shines through is just how much he is loving every moment of it. He often talked to the audience and a one point he said about joy replacing sadness and that's exactly what this performance was about, fun and joy, it brought a smile to people's faces - including mine. As I sat in my living room watching I wished I'd been there to be part of that live experience.

Bruce did a great mix of songs including some of my favourites, Badlands, Promised Land, The River (so beautifully performed, the best I've seen), Thunder Road and Born To Run. The encore was Glory Days and Dancing in The Dark, perfect to end on. The energy never diminished, I don't know how he does it! He is very much a man of the people still, and he frequently came off the stage and went down to the audience having physical contact with them. It was all about the music and communication and it was wonderful. We may have lost The King of Pop, but The Boss is still captivating us with what great music and a great artist should be all about.

So now it's goodbye to Glasto for another year, it'll certainly be hard to top this one. I wish U2 would perform there but somehow I don't see it, though Adam is a fan of the event. No other festival is like this one, maybe it has to do with the magical place it is held and the ley lines criss-crossing the area, who knows.....

All photos taken from BBC website

Friday, 26 June 2009

Rest In Peace Michael

I've never been a big fan of Michael Jackson's music, but people of my generation grew up first to the sounds of The Jackson Five and then Michael's solo music. It was there in the background during my teenage years and followed me into adulthood. I was up late last night and watched the news of his death unfold live on TV. I'm not a fan, but I watched in disbelief for hours, it shocked and saddened me and that in itself showed what a huge phenomenon Michael was. I read an article saying that maybe people were also mourning the loss of their youth highlighted by his passing, I think that could be true also. Momentous events touch us in lots of different ways.

Despite what we think of some aspects of his private life, there's no doubt that Michael Jackson was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.

RIP Michael.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Longest Day

Here we are at the summer solstice, the longest day of the year already! And what a lovely day it has been here, sunny and pleasantly warm, there's no lovelier place than England on a day like today. Where has the first half of this year gone?

I got the Sunday Times today to read the Bono interview - it really is a good one, a bit more to it than the usual. Those outside the UK can read it here. The article was accompanied by some photos, three great new ones taken at his home and some we'd seen before. I especially liked the one where Bono is lying on Killiney Beach - imagine you're taking your dog for a walk on the beach and there you see Bono lying on it! Must have been a bit uncomfortable on those pebbles though.

Any spare free range eggs Bono?

(c) The Sunday Times

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sunday Times Bono Interview

Just seen a rather striking ad on TV about an "in depth" interview with Bono in the Sunday Times Magazine this weekend. Sounds like it could be good!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

360 Minus Two Weeks

I'm sitting here finding it hard to believe that the 360 Tour will be on the road in two weeks. It's always seemed so far off, my first show in Nice will be in just over four weeks. Part of me is really looking forward to it and part of me is thinking "Oh God!" The days of queuing for hours and then standing for hours are over for me, I just can't be bothered anymore and most of our tickets this time are seated. It's funny how your views change. It will be nice to visit all the different places and meet up with my friends again, we always have a lot of laughs and adventures.

I hope the lives shows are brilliant - though I do still wish they were doing arenas. I like NLOTH, but it's not in my top three, and now months after it's release I feel a lot of the songs won't translate well live. But one area where U2 have never let us down is with their live concerts (ooops, except Las Vegas Popmart!) and I'm pretty sure they will take me on that emotional rollercoaster once more and work that magic.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Back Firing On All Cylinders Soon

Sorry I've not been updating the blog much recently, I haven't been very well. But I'm getting better now and hope to be blogging regularly once more very soon, so keep checking this space......

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Claw Develops.....

(Photo U2 Barcelona)

It's like some alien gradually metamorphosing towards it's final adult stage. I think it's looking better now that the Meccano-like structure is covered, though in all honesty things like this don't impress me much, it's the music that counts. But maybe it will add to the U2 360 Tour experience.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Ali Conquers Vertigo

Ali Hewson absailed down the tallest building in Ireland at the weekend in aid of The Chernobyl Chidren's Project International. Read all about it here. She's one brave lady!